Best places to see Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence
photo © slworking2 / Flickr – Scripp Pier, San Diego, California

Bioluminescence is light produced by living organisms through a chemical reaction between a light-emitting molecula and an enzyme or a photoprotein, generally luciferin and luciferase. The reaction sometimes requires other cofactors such as ATP, calcium or magnesium.  Some organisms synthesize luciferin on their own, others absorb it through other organisms.

Bioluminescence produces cold light, since the process does not emit heat, and it is different than fluorescence, which does not involve a chemical reaction and the light is just re-emitted after being absorbed.

Bioluminescence is used for many different purposes like hunting, defense against predators, warning, attracting mates, camouflage and even communication, by a wide range of animals and other living creatures such fireflies, glow worms, railroad worms, centipedes, snails, annelids, fish like anglerfish or lanternfish, invertebrates, krill, cnidarians, coral, jellyfish, crustaceans, bivalves, sea slugs, cephalopods, octopuses, squid, fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms.

Bioluminescent Jellyfish
photo © Chris Favero / Flickr

Thanks to this unusual phenomenon, these creatures create magical habitats such as bioluminescent marine bays, caves, woods and other spectacular landscapes.

Bioluminescence is a target for biology, medicine and engineering research for various experiments such as a new font of light or alternative uses in medicine.

Here is a complete list of the best places in the world where you can witness bioluminescence:

Big South Fork, Tennessee/Kentucky, USA

Titusville and Merritt Island, Florida, USA

Torrey Pines State Beach, San Diego, California, USA

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, USA

San Juan Island, Washington, USA

Dismals Canyon, Alabama, USA

Space Coast, Florida, USA

Manasquan Beach, New Jersey, USA

Indian River Lagoon, Florida, USA

Salt River Bay, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

Manialtepec Lagoon, Mexico

Isla Holbox, Mexico

Nichupte’ Lagoon, Mexico

Luminous Lagoon, Jamaica

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Bocas del Toro, Panama

Punta Cuchillos, Costa Rica

Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Mosquito Bay, Vieques, Puerto Rico

Laguna Grande, Fajardo, Puerto Rico

La Parguera, Lajas, Puerto Rico

Goias, Brazil

Kumbalangi, Kerala, India

Goa, India

Vaadhoo Island ‘Mudhdhoo Island’, Maldives

Reethi Beach, Maldives

Ko Lipe, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Ton Sai, Thailand

Koh Tonsay ‘Rabbit Island’, Cambodia

Koh Rong, Cambodia

Tusan Beach, Malaysia

Padang Bai, Bali, Indonesia

Matsu Islands, Taiwan

Sam Mun Tsai Beach, Hong Kong

Cat Ba Island, Ha Long Bay Area, Vietnam

Toyama Bay, Japan

Hachijō-jima, Japan

Coles Bay, Tasmania

Gippsland Lake, Australia

Springbrook Park, Australia

Jervis Bay, Australia

Waitomo caves, New Zealand

Lough Hyne Nature Reserve, Cork, Ireland

Aberavon Beach, Port Talbot, Wales

Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea, Wales

Grouville, Jersey

Norfolk, UK

Zeebrugge, Belgium

The Blue Grotto, Malta

Valadier Temple, Italy

Valadier Temple
photo © Alicudi
 

Located in the central Italian region of Marche, about one hour drive west of the city of Ancona, this gorgeous temple designed by the Italian architect Giuseppe Valadier in 1828 was originally a refugee for Christian pilgrims.

The temple is at the entrance of the Frasassi caves complex, whose Abisso Ancona is one of the biggest cave chambers in the world, 180 meters long and 200 meters tall, enough to accommodate the Milan Cathedral.

Beside the temple stands the Sanctuary of Santa Maria Infra Saxa, built in 1029 and completely carved into the rock.

Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

Waitomo Caves
© 2il org

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves, part of the Waitomo Caves system that includes the Ruakuri Cave and the Aranui Cave, are located in the southern Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand, about ten km northwest of Te Kuiti.

They are known for its population of thousands Arachnocampa luminosa, a species of glowworms that radiate the ceiling with their blue luminescent, creating a unique atmosphere.

The guided tour brings visitors through the caves by boat rides.